Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Feeling Lost? 4 Apps & Devices to Get Noticed in the Outdoors

A week or so ago a 21 year old hiker got lost while hiking with her two dogs in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle.  She was unprepared for the elements which include two nights in the wilderness.  A friend who works for search and rescue showed me a video of the rescue helicopter and their finding of the lost hiker.  In this case the hiker was found by sight as she lit a small fire and was heard yelling by other hikers.

Several years ago a group of kayakers greeted a solo kayaker rounding the Brooks Peninsula on northwest Vancouver Island, a rugged exposed coastline. The kayaker was never heard or seen of again.

Use Float Plan whenever you paddle solo and go on extended trips offshore or into the back country.  A float plan is simply telling friends where you're going, your route, when you plan on getting back and leaving contact info.

To avoid getting into those predicaments and ending up on the News, consider using some of the following devices and apps to either be in contact with your friends or family if needed or be found easier using satellite tracking devices.

ACA's Paddle Ready app - Track weather and send a float plan to friends of your trip and current status.

The Float Plan app - Just that.. send out alerts to your friends of your whereabouts.

Spot Trackers - These devices send folks to your location via satellite signal. Ideal for an evacuation.

VHF Radio - Old school, VHF's allow a direct line of communication to the Coast Guard and other boaters.  Most also have a button to check real time NOAA and Canadian marine weather channels and can be used as a walki talki with your friends and/or guides. I use the ICOM waterproof and floating handheld radio. Each of my guides carry these during classes and especially open water tours.

The downside to the apps is that you need a strong mobile signal.  All of the above need working batteries in you phone/device. Consider a mobile solar charger to keep batteries fresh. Test and know how to use all before leaving home.

Icom waterproof floating VHF



Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.




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